Effectively Wild Episode 1555: Baseball Ambivalence

Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley discuss the long-in-the-making announcement about the MLB season starting, touching on the resolution of the dispute between the league and the union, their deeply conflicted feelings about baseball being played during a pandemic, the strangeness of a 60-game season, how to reframe fandom and reorient rooting interests in a short season, starting extra innings with runners on second, and an especially perplexing Scott Boras analogy. Then (45:20) they bring on epidemiologist, incoming Emory University professor, and sports data analyst Zach Binney to discuss MLB’s health-and-safety protocol, the difficult of preventing transmission in baseball compared to other sports, the recent coronavirus outbreaks in baseball, the ethics and efficacy of COVID-19 testing in sports, whether temperature and symptom screenings work, how long players who test positive might have to sit out, prohibitions on spitting, touching, and equipment sharing, how to protect non-players who work for teams, what it might take for MLB to stop the season, the trajectory of the pandemic in the country at large, and more.

Audio intro: Neil Young, "For the Turnstiles"
Audio interstitial: Richard Thompson, "Keep Your Distance"
Audio outro: Ted Berg, "Small Sample Size Song"

Link to Ben on the MLB season starting
Link to info on new Darvish pitch
Link to Dan’s playoff odds and projected standings
Link to Neil Paine on “paper champions”
Link to Neil on the 60-game season
Link to Neil on observing true talent in various sports
Link to Eno Sarris on short seasons
Link to Russell Carleton on the 60-game season
Link to Boras analogy article
Link to 2020 MLB operations manual
Link to summary of manual
Link to Zach’s website
Link to Zach’s Football Outsiders archive
Link to epidemiologist survey about attending sporting events
Link to SI article about baseball’s non-bubble plan

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Hooray! Sort of….. 😐